The 4th season of The World Series of Blackjack premiered on GSN on June 4th, 2007 and featured a group of 40 players competing for a $1 million prize pool, (including $500,000 for the final table champion). New episodes aired each Monday night at 11pm EST/10 CST.
Contestants included magician Penn Jillette, Celebrity Blackjack champ Caroline Rhea, pitcher Orel Hershiser, actress Shannon Elizabeth and former champs Dr. Jeff Bernstein and Ken Einiger. Matt Vasgersian also returned to provide commentary (after being absent from Season Three), and the action took place at the Las Vegas Hilton.
Players competed in 8 preliminary matches, followed by 2 Wild Card rounds (in which the highest-ranking losers get a second chance), 2 Semi-Final rounds, and then the finals.
Each Wild Card round also featured a player who did not initially qualify for the Wild Card game. These players were determined by a second-chance drawing to be held the day of the competition.
Once the final table was determined, one last second-chance drawing was held for those players who reached the semi-finals but were eliminated. One of these competitors got to jump back in and compete at the final table.
Here's a recap of the rules.
- The game is played with six decks.
- The minimum bet to begin is $1,000, and the maximum bet is $50,000.
- Each competitor starts the game with $100,000 in chips.
- Players are allowed to double-down on anything.
- Each player gets one "Burger King Power Chip" per round. If played, a contestant can switch out one card for the next card in the shoe. If used on a double-down hand, the player may peek at the double-down card and even replace it. This feature was added during Season Three.
- It is legal to surrender a hand, which means that the player loses half of their bet.
- A blackjack pays 3 to 2.
- The dealer must stand on all soft 17s and higher.
- A player may choose to insure for less than their bet.
- The show contains two "knockout cards." When this card is drawn, the player with the lowest chip total will be eliminated after the next hand. Once the first KO card is revealed, the minimum bet increases to $2,500. After the second KO card, it rises again to $5,000. The KO card was first added during Season Three.
- A player is eliminated if he or she cannot make the minimum bet.
- After 25 hands of play, the player with the largest chip stack will be declared the winner.
Click here for recaps of the World Series of Blackjack Season 4 Episodes 35 - 40.